The amount of time people spend on social media is constantly increasing. Teens now spend up to nine hours a day on social platforms, while 30% of all time spent online is now allocated to social media interaction. And the majority of that time is on mobile - 60% of social media time spent is facilitated by a mobile device.
The social media platforms themselves are evolving their tools and options to further attract and engage new audiences (e.g. advent of live-streaming features and 360-degree photos/videos). Newer social platforms, including Snapchat, Instagram, and now Musical.ly, are also competing for their share of the market. Accordingly, brands are jumping into social media with social media ad spend expected to reach $36 billion in 2017.
To give marketers a better understanding of the social media landscape, we calculated the time spent across the most popular social media platforms, projected what it means within a consumer's lifetime, and compared these figures against common daily activities and examples of what can be accomplished with an equivalent amount of time (e.g. walk the Great Wall of China 3.5x, and run 10K+ marathons).
Astonishingly, the average person will spend nearly two hours (approximately 116 minutes) on social media everyday, which translates to a total of 5 years and 4 months spent over a lifetime. Even more, time spent on social is only expected to increase as platforms develop, and is expected to eat further into traditional media - most notably TV. Right now, the average person will spend 7 years and 8 months watching TV in a lifetime. However, as digital media consumption continues to grow at unprecedented rates, this number is expected to shrink in counter to that expansion.
Currently, total time spent on social media beats time spent eating and drinking, socializing, and grooming.
Broken down, time spent on social media differs across each platform. YouTube comes in first, consuming over 40 minutes of a person's day (i.e. 1 year and 10 months in a lifetime). Facebook users will spend an average of 35 minutes a day, totalling 1 year and 7 months in a lifetime (some statistics include Facebook, Facebook-owned Instagram, and Facebook Messenger for total time spent on Facebook). Snapchat and Instagram come in next with 25 minutes and 15 minutes spent per day, respectively. Finally, users will spend 1 minute on Twitter, spanning 18 days of usage in a lifetime.